From the BlogMeet Ron

3-2-17 MINDFUL MOMENTS IN MANOA

Dear friends,
A few years ago the Dalai Lama attended a large scientific meeting in Washington DC. He met with doctors, neuroscientists and meditation teachers to explore the latest clinical research on meditation and neuro-biology.
One morning a network television reporter interviewed him, and asked him about meditation and happiness.
“You had the New York Times bestselling book entitled The Art of Happiness, and you frequently teach about happiness. Could you tell our viewers about the happiest moment in your life?”
The Dalai Lama considered for a moment, smiled and said, “I think … now.”
Now? Not going to Oslo and accepting the Nobel Peace Prize? Or experiencing profoundly deep and unspeakably blissful meditative states?
Oh, I see. For the Dalai Lama this moment now is the happiest of his life.
This reminds me a little of a line from a poem by Emily Dickinson:

“Life is so astonishing; it leaves very little time for anything else.”

Anything else, I hear her saying, like frustration and guilt and remorse.

But as we “normal” humans wake up to another day of dealing with a stressful job, and maybe some underlying indecision and confusion about our life and where our country may be heading with this newly emboldened administration (after Trump’s peachy-keen speech to Congress yesterday) — what Emily Dickinson and the Dalai Lama say can make joy sound too easy, too Pollyannaish, too New Agey.
Sometimes we just give in to despair, anxiety and worry – all caused by judging and resisting what is happening in the moment. 
When you catch yourself judging or resisting or attaching to what is (or was or might be), give yourself a silent high-five (seriously) for even noticing this –that’s a big mindfulness milestone.
But even when we are caught in these junky mind states, some secret part of us knows that there must be another way. Some part of us recognizes that even in the worst situations, the heart can be free and quite happy.
We have within us an extraordinary capacity for joy, love and freedom. We just need to access it more easily and frequently. 
Ah, mindful meditation!
To re-awaken or re-discover this joy, this love, is what this path is all about.
Maybe meditation itself is an act of love, not a means to an end. 
Stumbling on this notion has significantly changed the way I see and practice meditation. 
Here is an excerpt from a book by Bob Sharples — Meditation: Calming the Mind:
“Don’t meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself; rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself. In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough. 
It offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many people’s lives in a knot. Instead there is now meditation as an act of love. 
How endlessly delightful and encouraging.”

So maybe just being here, right now, is love, is joy, and is freedom.
This insight gives us the blessed relief to truly just be yourself (after all, everyone else is already taken). 
What are you up to right now?
Aloha, Tom, Katina, and the kids

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